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First UMC

Downtown Worship, December 24, 2023

Downtown Worship, December 24, 2023

Signs of Arrival: 4. Too Outlandish To Be True

Locations & Times

First United Methodist Church of Lexington - Downtown

200 W High St, Lexington, KY 40507, USA

Sunday 11:00 AM

Matthew 1:18-25

A baby born of a virgin? Looked, sounded, and indeed was bizarre and totally unfamiliar particularly if you were in Joseph's shoes. In those shoes is exactly where Matthew’s birth narrative begins.

Basics of an outlandish story:
1) Holy Spirit conceived: God intervenes in human affairs.
2) Salvation through forgiveness of sins: our past does not hold us hostage.
3) Virgin gives birth: Humanity has agency too.

Joseph shows us what is possible when (Immanuel) God is with us. Just as the angel purified Joseph’s conscience to marry Mary. so to does the Spirit work within us to 1) purify our conscience, 2) to enliven our imagination to what is possible, and 3) strengthen our resolve (notice no sexual relations until after the birth). God with us...not about having to figure it out on our own, but to become people who listen, who respond, and who endure, who do what is asked of us.

We Christians have an outlandish story. A God who loved us so much that he put on flesh to live among us. Rather than coming in power he came in weakness. Rather than demanding our obedience he invites our faith. Rather than living in a throne room he chose a cross.

Stop trying to get it all to make sense! It does not. Has not. Will not. To find the abundant life we must be like Joseph and walk by faith rather than sight. A faith journey takes faith. Stop looking for a silver bullet for your life and instead do what Jesus did…deny yourself any other option than taking up your cross in faith and following as closely as you can.

You’ll find that outlandish ACCEPTANCE OF GRACE is the only way to true life.

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